AAF primed for success
The Alliance of American Football could be the first professional football league that coexists with the NFL. This is due to the AAF not wanting to compete with the NFL but instead be a complement to it.
Previously, the United States Football League and the planned XFL had short stints in the United States before failing. Both leagues tried to compete with the NFL, even signing some of their biggest stars including Herschel Walker. But the AAF is different. Bill Polian, co-founder of AAF, has claimed that the goal of the league is to be a developmental league for the NFL, just as other professional sports have, such as the G League in the NBA and Minor Leagues for the MLB. This is a tactic that might just work.
The AAF gives opportunities to many players who have been let go by NFL teams or went undrafted out of college. Each player is on a three-year, $250,000 contract with performance and fan-based incentives to increase their earnings. The most important part of this league is the understanding by executives and coaches that these players are here to get better and leave to the NFL. The lack of interest in retaining players to build their own brand is why this league will be around for a long time.
As for the players, the AAF is a golden opportunity for them to showcase their skills. Some players are journeymen on practice squads, and some don’t pop off the screen on combine drills, but game action is critical. Like NCAA football, the AAF gives players a chance to show what they can do in games on a big stage. This gives players more of an appeal than just what they are asked to do on a practice squad.
The level of competition is also very high. Of course, the talent level will never match the NFL, but it is a developmental league. The players in this league are here for a reason: to make it to the NFL.
They are hungry, motivated and not entitled. This increases the gameplay despite the talent drop-off. Seeing players giving it everything they have every play is exactly what a great league is, and the AAF designed its league and contracts to make sure the level of competition is always top-notch.
Players may come and go, but the AAF is here to stay. The only advice that can be given is to keep an eye on some of these players as they have the potential to make big gains in their careers.